Eco Vacation

If you want to see the world, you’re going to impact it, there’s no way around that. But traveling doesn’t have to harm the planet if you plan your trip with environmentally friendly concepts in mind. It is possible to see the world and the beauty that it has to offer while harming it the least amount possible. Here are some things to consider when traveling with a low environmental impact.

While the least environmentally impactful vacation is simply staying home, or taking a staycation, it’s certainly not the most exciting. Getting to your location is usually going to be the most environmentally harmful part of your trip, as long as you plan the rest out well, so staying close to home is the smartest way to go about it. Exploring your nearby natural beauties is less harmful as you’re not flying in an airplane or driving for long distances in a car. Once you’ve explored all that you can close to home though, go ahead and get out a bit further, just be mindful of where you go and what you do when you get there.

If you’re going to hop on a plane, make sure the destination is one that values the environment. At the top of that list is Costa Rica, one of the greenest, most eco-friendly countries on the planet. With over one quarter of the land protect as national parks or wildlife refuges, this is a country that prides itself on taking care of the environment.  Traveling to a country that protects and cherishes the environment means supporting an economy that will reinvest in the environment. Another country that stands out is Namibia, perhaps the sole exception on the African continent when it comes to ideal and principals regarding poaching and conservation. Visiting countries such as Costa Rica and Namibia reinforces the world view that those that take care of the world will be rewarded for that practice.

After you’ve decided where you’re going, it’s time to figure out where to stay. Eco-lodges are great options for eco-friendly vacations. Some eco-lodges provide biodegradable shampoo and soap and limit the amount of electricity to just a few hours at night to help conserve the natural environment. Hotels and resorts can have massive environmental footprints so finding accommodations that recycle, conserve water, and are mindful about food waste is important. While air-conditioning and heating can feel wonderful in tropical climates or cold regions, the energy needed to power these machines can be very impactful on the environment so try to find places that use alternative and inventive methods of heating, cooling, and insulating.

Lastly, once you’ve arrived and checked in, consider what activities you’ll be participating in while exploring the world. Of course, volunteering and giving back to the earth is the best way to offset the environmental impact that your visit is sure to have. Volunteering doesn’t have to take up your whole trip, but finding a project you can participate with while aboard is a great idea. In addition to giving back, choose activities that are low impact, such as hiking, biking or kayaking. Avoid things that use motors like jet skiing or ATV-ing. And remember to make sure that the tour company you book through is one that values the environment as much as you do.

 

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